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Vertonghen: VAR forcing players to ‘change the way we defend’

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Jan Vertonghen believes the ongoing introduction of video review is forcing players to change the way they play the game — and in particular, the way they defend — in the wake of a nearly season-altering call that went against Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Harry Kane could miss rest of season, says Pochettino ]

Tottenham defender Danny Rose was adjudged, only upon video review, to have committed a handball offense inside his own penalty are, resulting in a penalty kick being awarded to Manchester City in the two sides’ UEFA Champions League quarterfinal clash. Prior to Bjorn Kuipers’ video assistant alerting him to a possible offense, there were no protests from Man City’s players.

Hugo Lloris bailed Rose and Co., out of trouble by saving Sergio Aguero’s ensuing penalty kick, thus negating the impact the decision had on Tuesday’s game. Vertonghen’s more specific point, however, that it’s a slippery slope to review incidents like this one in slow-motion, is a worthwhile and well-reasoned one — quotes from the BBC:

“Football is always a very emotional game, and VAR is changing that a bit. I think we have to change the way we defend.”

“I think so many things look like a penalty in slow motion. We are not pulling people down but even a small touch, if you watch it 20 times in slow motion, it will give so many more penalties.

“I think in the next few years in the Premier League, you will see at least 20, 30, 40 more penalties. I think we all need to adapt. Sometimes you can’t do anything else than put your body on the line. It’s important that referees think as a football player sometimes.

“You can’t even touch anyone. Before it was quite physical, but in a fair way, now you are too scared to get close to someone.”

It’s important to note that Vertonghen isn’t saying video review is bad, or that he doesn’t like it; he’s offering his honest assessment of how it’s been applied thus far and how he sees that affecting the way the game is played. He’s being anything but critical.

[ MORE: Lloris, Son give Spurs lead over Man City (video) ]

The most interesting part of Vertonghen’s comments are the ones regarding slow-motion replays. He’s 100 percent correct in his point that our interpretation of fouls, among most other things, are drastically altered by slow-motion replays.

For instance, to see Rose slide into the path of Raheem Sterling‘s shot and block the ball with his arm in slow motion, because the replay takes so long to view from beginning to end, we are tricked into thinking, “He’s had plenty of time to put his arm down there, that’s his fault for leaving it up,” when in reality Rose has made the decision to slide in, actually slid in, the shot was fired and he’s blocked it with his arm all in little more than a second’s time.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Spurs’ victory over Man City ]

For this reason, slow-motion replays shouldn’t be used for anything other than to confirm a certain action happened (i.e. did the ball hit the player’s arm, or did it come off his chest/shoulder first?). As for determining intent of offenses like handball or red-card tackles — the same thought process as before applies to a player leaving his studs exposed above the ball — referees should only be shown full-speed replays to make VAR decisions.

VAR has already changed the way the game is refereed — for the better, largely — but it’s going to change the way players play it for quite some time. The powers that be need to ensure VAR doesn’t turn into a practice of micro-management and over-analysis on false pretenses.

Video review will be introduced in the Premier League beginning with the next season in August.

Lloris, Son give Spurs lead over Man City (video)

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  • VAR gives Aguero penalty, saved by Lloris
  • Kane injured in clash with Delph (video)
  • Son drills 78th minute goal

With Harry Kane injured, Heung-Min Son delivered the goods for Spurs in a 1-0 first leg defeat of Manchester City in a UEFA Champions League quarterfinal on Tuesday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The win came with a price tag: Harry Kane limped off the pitch with another ankle injury.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Dele Alli flashed over goal in the 8th minute when Moussa Sissoko‘s cross was just a half-foot too high for the English attacker.

Spurs then found themselves in a predicament thanks to VAR, as a shot hit the sliding Danny Rose in his arm and Bjorn Kuipers somehow found it to be a penalty.

But Hugo Lloris saved Sergio Aguero’s bid to make it 1-0 from the spot!

Ederson made his presence felt with a save on Harry Kane in the 24th, both keepers were something to do in the first half hour.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Lloris parried a Sterling shot in the early stages of the second half, and Spurs cleared the danger. Heung-min Son forced Ederson into a comfortable save at the other end.

Harry Kane had to leave the match after Fabian Delph stepped on the striker’s ankle in the follow-through of a clearance. Innocuous, but costly.

Son’s wayward touch of a delightfully chipped Christian Eriksen pass took him away from goal, but the South Korea drilled a low shot between the legs of Ederson for a late 1-0 lead.

Spurs defender Danny Rose slams lack of action on racism

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Tottenham Hotspur defender Danny Rose launched a scathing attack on the executives and authorities in world soccer, believing that racism should have been booted from the game by now and saying those in power have done far too little to prevent the incidents that dot the landscape today.

Rose was the victim of racist chants last week during a game in Montenegro while on international duty with England, and he says the punishments are far too weak.

“A country can only get fined a little bit of money for being racist, it’s a bit of a farce isn’t it?” Rose said. “I’ve had enough.”

The abuse has become so bad that Rose is looking forward to his retirement, excited for the day he can fade back into anonymity and not be subject to the vile taunts. “I think I’ve got five or six more years left in football, and I just can’t wait to see the back of it.”

“Seeing how things are done in the game at the minute, you just have to get on with it. There is so much politics in football. I can’t wait to see the back of it.”

Despite prevalent incidents all over the world, players subject to racist abuse – and their teammates and coaches – are still forced to plead with authorities both during and after matches for something to be done. Often, those involved are forced to insist the incidents actually took place, with many denying they happened. Montenegro head coach Ljubisa Tumbakovic claimed after the match that he did not “hear or notice” any racist abuse, which forced both Rose and England boss Gareth Southgate to retort by saying, “there’s no doubt in my mind it happened.”

It also leaves coaches like Southgate in a difficult position, feeling the need to take a stand but also not wanting to potentially harm the team. “Gareth Southgate was a bit upset after the game because it was the first time he’d been involved in something like that,” Rose said. “He didn’t know what the right course of action was. He said he was fully behind me if I wanted to walk off. I appreciate that, but I just wanted to get the three points and get out of there as quickly as possible.”

Rose wasn’t done calling out the authorities who failed to prevent such a situation. “Obviously it is sad that I had to prepare for that, but when countries only get fined what I probably spend on a night out in London then what do you expect?”

UEFA charged Montenegro for the abuse during the England match, and a disciplinary hearing will take place on May 16.

Danny Rose breaks silence about facing racist abuse in Montenegro

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Danny Rose has spoken emphatically and candidly about his personal feelings and career plans in breaking his 10-day silence about the racist abuse he and England’s other black players faced during the Three Lions’ game in Montenegro last month.

[ MORE: Bonucci criticized for saying Kean “50-50” to blame for racist abuse ]

While the likes of manager Gareth Southgate and players Raheem Sterling and Callum Hudson-Odoi chose to speak about the incident in the minutes immediately following the final whistle, Rose says he wanted to keep his thoughts to himself and speak with a number of important figures in his life before going public with his thoughts.

While his manager and some of his teammates weren’t aware of the racist chanting which had been taking place until the game’s second half, Rose was acutely aware of what was happening, though he says he didn’t bring it up to Southgate at halftime — quotes from the Telegraph:

“I spoke to Gareth after the game and he hadn’t been aware (of the racism). I didn’t mention it at halftime, so he wasn’t aware of what was happening until he heard it right at the end.

“The manager was a bit upset to be fair, because he told us it was the first time he’d been involved with something like that and he said he didn’t know what the right course of action was. He said he was fully behind me if we wanted to walk off. I just wanted to get the three points and get out of there as quickly as possible.”

Southgate offered nothing but full backing to his players after the game, striking the perfect balance of anger over the events and the feeling of failure given the level of responsibility he feels as someone in a position of prominence and power.

[ MORE: PL clubs top $341 million in fees paid to player agents ]

It’s not the first time Rose has dealt with racism while playing for England. As a member of the U-21 team for a trip to Serbia in 2012, a similar incident occurred which had Rose prepared for — and expecting — more of the same this time around. Serbia was fine all of $85,000 by UEFA and forced to play one game behind closed doors.

“I sort of prepared myself for what happened. We won and now we just wait for whatever punishment if any punishment happens.

“I wasn’t upset. I just didn’t want the focus to be on me and about a small — I have to say it was only a small — minority of the fans doing the chanting. I didn’t want the post-match to be about me. I just wanted everybody to focus on a great week we’d had with England. We scored 10 goals and it was a great performance over two games. I just didn’t want to speak and put any focus on me, that’s all.

“I played in Serbia about eight years ago and it happened there. So I sort of thought it would be a possibility that it might happen again (in Montenegro) and it did. So yes, it happened. I looked up straight away in the first half and I know the exact time it happened in the first half.

“But it didn’t affect my game. I’m a big boy now and I know that three points are obviously not the most important thing when you’re going through something like that, but I just wanted the team to get three points so that we could move on and get out of Montenegro as quickly as possible.”

[ MORE: Sterling pays for 550 students from his old school to attend FA Cup semi ]

As for what must be done to rid the game of racism, Rose believes the game’s various governing bodies must begin to take the issue seriously, beginning with punishments befitting the crime.

“When countries only get fined what I’d probably spend on a night out in London, what do you expect? When the punishment is not as harsh, what do you expect?

“You see my Tottenham manager (Mauricio Pochettino) get banned for two games for just being confrontational against [referee] Mike Dean at Burnley. But yet a country can only get fined a little bit of money for being racist. It’s just a bit of a farce at the minute. So that’s where we are at in football and until there’s a harsh punishment there’s not must else we can expect.”

While Rose is clearly a deeply insightful individual and someone willing to meet any potential criticism head-on for speaking out about important societal issues, he was very transparent about the fact that the custodians of the game have not only failed himself and many others around the world, but also that it has him just about counting down the days until he’s ready to retire.

“I’ve had enough. At the minute, how I program myself, I just think, ‘I’ve got five or six more years left in football and I just can’t wait to see the back of it.’ Seeing how things are done in the game at the minute. I just want to get out of it.

“That’s how I feel. I feel I’ve got five or six more years left and I just want to enjoy football as much as I can. There is so much politics and whatever in football, and I just can’t wait to see the back of it, to be honest.”

Stars and duds from Liverpool-Tottenham Hotspur

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There are many talking points from Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat of Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on Sunday.

[ MORE: Match recap | 3 things ]

This was a match rife with mistakes and squandered chances, and there was not a man who was perfect.

Andy Robertson was very, very good, but a part of the Spurs equalizer. Danny Rose was a Spurs star, but flubbed a late bid to send in a beautiful cross.

Stars

Andy Robertson — The Liverpool left back not only served up an assist while habitually cooking Kieran Trippier, he blocked a seemingly surefire Christian Eriksen equalizer.

Roberto Firmino — This was about so much more than the opening goal — though what a header! — as the Brazilian striker served as a calm playmaker and a bully on the ball.

Georginio Wijnaldum The least celebrated of a safe midfield, Wijnaldum was the best of the bunch and went 90 minutes in the win

Danny Rose — Has been in fine form for club and country, and was a big part of several promising moves coming from Spurs’ left side. Almost was removed from this list for a horrid 87th minute blunder on a scoring chance, but was just too important over the first 87.

Christian Eriksen — Inventive and undeterred, his spinning assist was a just reward for his day’s work.

Lucas Moura — Struggled for much of the first half, but scored the equalizer and took a very smart tactical yellow with Salah on the break in the 79th minute.

Duds

Hugo Lloris — The match-deciding goal is entirely on him, even if it ends up going over the line via an otherwise steady Toby Alderweireld.

Kieran Trippier — As noted in the Robertson blurb, Trippier was very poor on the flank. His quick pass on the equalizer helped, but

Alisson Becker — A fine parry in the second half, but mostly looked out-of-sorts in a big spot.

Moussa Sissoko — Here for one reason: Sprung for a 2v1 with Heung-Min Son, he dribbled toward the defender until a pass was impossible before blazing an effort nowhere near the goal. Son could’ve helped by running away from goal, but my goodness.

Harry KaneThis was going to be “Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah,” but it felt like kicking a dead horse to put Salah here for struggling when he, along with Lloris, produced Alderweireld’s own goal. Kane was largely absent for a star striker, and working hard doesn’t get you the plaudits when you’re a Golden Boot chaser. So maybe Mohamed Salah should be here, too, having scored just once in nine matches.